Speier captures seat in Congress

Former state legislator Jackie Speier will likely add her name to a powerful list of local women in Congress after dominating Tuesday’s special election to succeed the late Tom Lantos as the 12th Congressional District representative.

Speier, a Democrat, will fill the House seat left vacant by Lantos, who died in February after a short battle with cancer. She now joins such recognizable names as Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, as local women now holding prominent Washington offices.

“It’s a great night for Jackie Speier,” said her spokesman, Alex Tourk, as Speier was being smothered by dozens of supporters at her celebration party. “We’re thrilled. She never took this race for granted. It’s an exciting night for her and her family and the district.”

As many predicted, Speier was far ahead the four other candidates — Democrat Michelle McMurry, Republicans Mike Moloney and Greg Conlon, and Green Party candidate Barry Hermanson — in Tuesday’s election. The 57-year-old lawyer would hold the office until Jan. 3, 2009, which marks the end of Lantos’ term won in November 2006.

Speier, the foursome she faced Tuesday and two new candidates will now compete for the next two-year term of the same office in the June 3 primary. The leading vote-getters from each party will square off in November; the winner will fill the seat from January 2009 to January 2011. Political analysts say Speier is the heavy favorite to capture the November election as well.

A Hillsborough resident, Speier would become the House representative for most residents between the areas of northern Redwood City and the southwest portion of San Francisco, excluding Belmont and parts of the coast.

“She didn’t let us down as a supervisor or in the state[Legislature], and I don’t expect anything different once she gets to Washington,” said Gary Stone, a Burlingame voter.

The special election was unprecedented in San Mateo County and the elections office expected a low turnout of about 30 percent of the district’s 335,479 registered voters, said Elections Manager David Tom.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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